Where did you go, Glenwood? | PostIndependent.com

Where did you go, Glenwood?

Mike Vidakovich
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Mike Vidakovich

Having been born and raised in Glenwood Springs, I’m always amazed at how little I recognize my old hometown anymore.

Of course, the population has risen drastically since Dr. Nutting delivered me into the world, a bleary-eyed and screeching new resident on Nov. 29, 1960.

There are now buildings and homes everywhere, even halfway up the sides of mountains where pines would grow and the deer and elk used to roam free.

The traffic is incredible and amazing. I’ll leave it at that.

We’ve squeezed too many people and things between these beautiful mountains. If only nature could fight back.

When I was a kid, Glenwood wasn’t quite like Mayberry, but it sure was close.

You knew everyone in your neighborhood, and most everyone in the town. It was like a big, extended family. We all played together, laughed together, endured hard times together, and everyone was willing to lend a hand when it was needed.

I remember when the local celebration, Strawberry Days, was a small community gathering held on the lawn of the downtown courthouse. Everyone would rush over to get free strawberries and ice cream after the last float of the parade had passed. All the faces were familiar. Sunshine and the unhurried pace of the times were almost as welcome as the free dessert.

We had no fast food chains back then, and we got along just fine. It was a big treat to have a family meal at the Dinner Bell on Grand Avenue, or head to Andre’s Pizzeria on Highway 6 and 24 for a mouth watering slice of pepperoni pizza.

Who needed Wal-Mart or Target when Hested’s Department Store, Bullock’s and Brockway’s Furniture were just a short trip into town. I still have my Archie Bunker chair, which was purchased at Brockway’s. Though not in style anymore, it’s still the epitome of comfort.

I sure do miss the Canyon Drive-In Theatre. It was located where the Glenwood Mall now resides. On movie night, my mom would dress me up in my pajamas so I could konk-out in the back seat of the car, knowing full well that I would never make it through the second feature of the evening. I really liked hooking that speaker inside the car window, grabbing some popcorn, and settling in for the movie. I never took my eyes off the big, outdoor screen the night Clint Eastwood shot ’em all up in “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” My dad was surprised I made it through that one.

During Christmas break each winter, the city would close all the side streets leading up to the water tanks near Doc Holliday’s grave so that we young ones could careen, out of control, down the hill on our sleds. It was a day filled with chilly fun. You didn’t even mind the long walk back up the hill to the tanks, all the while wondering if you could make it back down, past that first sharp corner, or if you would end up, elbows scraped and knees banged, in the ditch that bordered the road. A bigger worry than crashing, was the constant threat of the high schoolers coming up from behind and giving you the sled-tipping red dog maneuver. Your fate was often in their hands.

I miss the nights at the Glenwood Bowling Alley with my dad, that unforgettable smell of freshly baked doughnuts at Joe and Bob’s Buttercup Bakery, dime-a-dip Saturday dinners at the Eagle’s Hall, Leo Langley’s barbershop, the soda fountain at the Willmeth Drugstore, and most of all, life in a small town.

Time changes all things. Glenwood is still a great spot to be, but I think it’s more so for those who are relatively new to the area. It’s just not as good as it used to be when it was seen through the magical eyes of a boy.

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